From a Distance

In my post on Snow Patrol’s song “Shut Your Eyes,” I discussed the Apple Music app’s Genius playlists that find pieces compatible with a single song choice.

It seems like the last few Saturdays, I’ve launched the playlist based on Teddy Thompson’s “In My Arms.” It’s a great collection of 25 songs (with the option to expand to 50, 75 or 100) by a wide variety of artists, and, yes, they’re all compatible.

One of the songs is “From a Distance,” a composition by American singer-songwriter Julie Gold. A friend of Gold’s introduced it to fellow American singer, songwriter and guitarist Nanci Griffith, whose version on the album The MCA Years: A Retrospective my sweety and I have listened to many times over the years, and still love.

There’s a line in the song, “From a distance, you look like my friend / Even though we are at war…” which always reminds me of a friend who, in the early 1990s, was treated unjustly by an employer. The song must have played during a visit, though I can’t recall who was singing it. (It wasn’t Griffith, as Sweety and I heard her cover many years later after we got together and she “discovered” Griffith.) I also don’t remember if the specific lyric was discussed at the time, but I think so. I do remember it was difficult for us as friends to see this person suffer a power imbalance that the employer took advantage of. Not the first time it’s happened to someone I know, and it probably won’t be the last; but still, so unnecessary and unfair.

Today’s selection is the fourth recording of Griffith’s I’ve featured. Others have been “Speed of the Sound of Loneliness” (the song with which my sweety introduced me to Griffith’s music), “Late Night Grande Hotel” (which is on our wedding CD), and “Deadwood, South Dakota.” All fantastic songs by a gifted artist with a beautiful voice. She’s also one of those performers who sometimes spends several minutes introducing a piece, as she does in “Deadwood, South Dakota,” among many others.

“From a Distance” is full of hope and tells of many beautiful aspects in our world, though as mentioned, it brings in the shadow side, too. It’s wonderful, moving and authentic.

Other singers who have covered the song include Bette Midler and Cliff Richard.

Now you know a little about why this is my song of the day for today. Thanks for joining me here, and please enjoy.

Here’s the video for the song from the Nanci Griffith YouTube topic channel:

Full, unofficial lyrics are available courtesy of

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